The Buddha teaches the Dhamma

What did the Buddha think of His Dhamma?
He thought how deep His Dhamma was and how hard it would be for people to understand.
Who appeared before Him then?
Brahma Sahampati appeared before Him and invited Him to preach the Dhamma.
Did He find people who could understand Him?

With His Divine Eye He looked and saw that there were people who could understand the Dhamma.
To whom did the Buddha think of teaching the Dhamma first?
To Alara Kalama who was His first teacher.
Did He preach to him?

No, He understood that he died a week ago.
Of whom did he think next?
He thought of Uddaka Ramaputta who was His second teacher.
What had happened to him?
The Buddha understood that he had also died the evening before.
Finally of whom did the Buddha think?

He thought of the five monks who attended on Him.
Where were they staying then?
They were staying at Isipatana, in Benares.
What were their names?
Kondanna, Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahanama and Assaji.

Did the Buddha go to see them?
Out of compassion the Buddha went to see them.

Did He meet any person on the way?
He met Upaka, a wandering ascetic.

What did Upaka ask the Buddha?
He asked who the Buddha's teacher was.

What was the Buddha's reply?
The Buddha replied that He had no teacher.

Why, were not Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta His teachers?
They were His teachers before His Enlightenment. For the attainment of Buddhadood He had no teacher.

What did the five monks think seeing the Buddha from afar?
They thought not to give Him due respect as He had given up striving.

What happened as the Buddha drew near?
They could not refrain from giving Him due respect.

How did they address the Buddha?
They addressed Him "Avuso Gotama".

What did the Buddha say?
The Buddha advised them not to call Him thus as He was a Buddha.

Did they believe His word?
They did not believe Him though the Buddha said so for the second and third time.

What did the Buddha say then?
The Buddha asked them - Do you know, O Bhikkhus, that I ever spoke to you thus before.

Was the Buddha able to convince them?
Yes, He was able to convince them.

Did they get ready to hear the Dhamma?
Yes, they sat patiently to hear the Dhamma.


The First Sermon

What was the name of the Buddha's first sermon?

Dhammacakka Sutta.

What does Dhammacakka mean?
It means the establishment of wisdom, or The Wheel of Truth.

On what day was this sermon preached?
On the Asalha (Esala-July) Fullmoon day.

Where did the Buddha preach this sermon?
At the Deer Park in Isipatana, near Benares.

Who were present to hear the sermon?
Amongst human beings the five monks.

Who else were present?
We are told that there were many Devas and Brahmas too.

How did the Buddha start the sermon?
By advising the monks to give up the two extremes.

What were those two extremes?
The enjoyment of sensual pleasures and the tormenting of the body. (Self-indulgence and Self-motification).

Should all give up pleasures?
No, this advice was given to those who had given up the worldly life.

Why did the Buddha teach, not to torment the body?
Because people believed in useless penances to gain purity.

Did these five monks believe in these penances?
Yes, they had great faith in them.

Did the Buddha also go to these extremes?
Yes, as a prince he enjoyed sensual pleasures. As an ascetic he practised many penances.

What was the path discovered by the Buddha?
He discovered the Middle Path.

What is the Pali word for Middle Path.
Majjhima Patipada.

Why did the Buddha give up these extremes?
Because they were not profitable.

What is this Middle Path?
It is Noble Eightfold Path.

To what does this Middle Path lead?
It leads to Nibbana.

Mention the first two members of the Eightfold Path?
Right Understanding (Samma Ditthi) and Right Thoughts (Samma Sankappa).

Mention the second three?
Right Speech (Samma Vaca), Right Action (Samma Kammanta) and Right Livelihood (Samma Ajiva).

Mention the last three?
Right Effort (Samma Vayama), Right Mindfulness (Samma Sati) and Right Concentration (Samma Samadhi).

What else did the Buddha teach in His first discourse?
He taught the Four Noble Truths.

What are they?
Suffering, its cause, its end, and the way which leads to its end.

What did the Buddha say with regard to the Four Noble Truth?
He said that light arose in things which He had not known before.

What is the cause of suffering?
Craving is the cause of suffering.

What is the end of suffering?
Nibbana is the end of suffering.

When did the Buddha say that He was an Enlightened One?
Only after He understood these Four Noble Truths.

What happened at the end of the discourse?
Kondanna understood these Four Noble Truths.

What do you mean by a Sotapanna?
One who has attained the first Stage of Sainthood. It means a Stream-winner, one who has seen Nibbana for the first time.

What did the Devas and Brahmas do?
They all shouted Sadhu, Sadhu !

Did anything strange happen?
Yes, a very bright light appeared in the world.

What happened to the other four monks?
They also became Sotapannas later.

Did they become Arahats?
They became Arahats after hearing the Anattalakkhana Sutta.

With what does this Sutta deal?
It deals with No-Self.

What do you mean by Arahat?
An Arahat means a Worthy One.